Motion to Reopen

Experienced Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Assists Immigrants Facing Deportation

Do you have a deportation order in your immigration history? If you do, it could be that you argued your case and lost before the immigration judge. Or maybe it’s because for some reason you didn’t attend your immigration hearing in immigration court and were ordered removed “in absentia” – meaning the order was issued against you when you weren’t there.

What Can You Do If You Have A Prior Deportation or Removal Order?

If you were ordered deported or removed from the United States, a motion to reopen could be the first step in a successful legal strategy that will ultimately lead to you getting a green card. If a motion to reopen is granted, it can result in previous orders of removal or deportation being vacated or stayed (that is, put on hold) and the immigration court granting you a new hearing.

Should You Pursue a Motion to Reopen?

No one wants to have an outstanding deportation order, so you might be tempted to file a motion to reopen without thinking it through. DON’T DO THIS. It’s incredibly important to assess with an immigration attorney if it’s worth submitting a motion to reopen. If you don’t have another way to get immigration relief, a motion to reopen would only lead to a new order of deportation and would bring you to the attention of immigration officials. It’s very risky and not worth it if you don’t have a viable legal path to remaining in the United States available to you.

What a Motion to Reopen Is NOT

Immigrants living in Los Angeles and facing deportation can easily misunderstand the nature and purpose of a motion to reopen. A motion to reopen essentially asks the immigration judge at the court that issued your prior order of deportation to clear that order, and then conduct a new hearing so the court can receive and consider new evidence or applications that weren’t available at the first unsuccessful hearing.

A motion to reopen is not:

  • An Appeal: An appeal is filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the court above the one that conducted your original immigration hearing. It must be filed within 30 days of the negative ruling. When you file an appeal, you are arguing to the BIA that the immigration judge who conducted your first hearing made an error involving the law or facts of your case. For example, an appeal may be necessary if the court improperly applied the law or if it made an erroneous factual determination in your case.
  • A Motion to Reconsider: A motion to reconsider is filed with the same immigration judge who rendered the erroneous decision, and must be filed within 30 days of the negative ruling. In a motion to reconsider, you inform the judge of an aspect of the case you believe may have been overlooked and asked them to evaluate this information again when rendering his or her decision. As you can imagine, this type of motion is not often successful.

If your dispute is with the way the law was applied to your case, or if you believe the judge may have overlooked something or not given it the proper weight, you may want to consider either an appeal or a motion to reconsider instead of a motion to reopen.

Timing Considerations When Filing a Motion to Reopen

There are certain exceptions, but in general, a motion to reopen must be filed within 90 days of the issuance of a final order of removal or deportation. It is important to speak with an immigration lawyer who can help you determine whether an exception applies in your case, and whether you have any legal means of staying in the United States if your motion to reopen is granted and your order of deportation is rescinded.

Contact the L.A. Immigration Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C.

The experienced and dedicated attorneys at the Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C., can evaluate the circumstances of your case and help determine if a motion to reopen is the right tool for you. If so, we can assist you in preparing a strong and persuasive motion to reopen, filing your motion to reopen, and then fighting for you to obtain your green card or relief from deportation. Call our Los Angeles office today at (213) 262-2000 or contact our office using our firm’s online contact form.